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Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming Hardcover – March 13, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1597261975 ISBN-10: 1597261971 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Shearwater; 1 edition (March 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597261971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597261975
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Around the world, climate change is indicated by natural events-especially in shifting migration routes-leading to results familiar (species die-out) and unexpected-like the discovery of a heretofore unprecedented "pizzly," a bear cub with one polar parent and one grizzly. Not all geographical displacement is quite so friendly; as ""ecological niches are shriveling up and disappearing," common and persistent species are dying off at a rate "between 17 percent and 377 percent faster than normal" over the past 400 years. While reviewing the evidence that points to drastic changes resulting from even small global temperature increases, Barnosky also discusses biodiversity's importance, compares rates of evolutionary change with global temperatures, and recounts Earth's four previous mass extinctions. One of her grim assessments is that "many of the species that humans tend to like" will be wiped out by global warming, and spur helpful evolutionary diversification only in "what we normally call pests." For the most part Barnosky is less gloomy than curious, able and straight-forward, flavoring his report with a sense of adventure and possibility; by the end of his discussion on humanity's four-pronged problem-global warming, habitat loss, introduced species and population growth-Barnosky will have readers looking to do more than change lightbulbs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Barnosky uses a unique approach to address the problem of global warming. Rather than dwell on human factors, he offers a host of examples from the past to illustrate how animals of previous eras survived or failed to adapt. From the recent discovery of a grizzly/polar bear hybrid (a pizzly) to dead zones in the Pacific Ocean, he chronicles various irrefutable changes to earth’s climate. Chapters focusing on long-term studies at Kew Gardens and Yosemite Park make good use of research dating back to John Muir and other early naturalists. More contemporary discoveries involve wolf eradication and the successful reintroduction of this essential species in Yellowstone National Park, and the area’s fossil record, which reveals how the Yellowstone ecosystem responded to what was the most significant global warming event, prior to the current one, in the past 3,200 years. Wolves are more than a political topic, Barnosky proves, just as the Canadian pizzly is likely not an isolated phenomenon. In straightforward language, this sensible climate-change book presents solid evidence from earth’s deep history. --Colleen Mondor

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Cole Willingham on February 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paleoecologist Anthony D. Barnosky is one of the top researchers in the relatively new field of what might be called “ecological climatology.” His contributions to the professional scientific literature have included true paleobiological papers, discussions of the current extinction crisis, and an examination of a state shift in the Earth’s biosphere. In “Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warning” he has written a very readable and valuable summation of the current state of knowledge vis-à-vis climate change and nature. The book is certainly not for everybody, but it will hopefully inspire interested laypeople to join the fight to save what’s left of the planet, and it is exactly these people who are needed if that fight is to succeed. My only complaints were as follow: 1. despite clearly explaining what can only be described as a dire state of affairs for biodiversity, his prognosis for the future was overly optimistic, and 2. his section on actions that individuals can take was too trite. While it is possible that these decisions were driven by the publisher (since nobody wants to buy a book that contains too much bad news and most people don’t want to be told they need to make drastic changes to their lifestyles), in both cases my concern is that readers may under-react to the seriousness of the situation. Notwithstanding these issues, I highly recommend this book as a refresher for those who have been keeping up with the latest advances in the scientific literature, and as a primer for those who are just beginning to wake up to these issues.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Heard the author in a radio interview and knew this was a book I had to read. The presentation of information is methodical, and not at all "preachy". This book cites genuine scientific data in an accessible and interesting way. The data is taken from actual studies - there is no speculation. Connections to Global Warming are made but the text sticks to a presentation of facts. The only shortcoming for me was that the chapter devoted to purposed responses was too short. But I expect that is outside the author's area of expertise - and perhaps we all need to consider what a sensible response should be... Bought a copy for each of my children as I feel this an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the current state of decline of ecosystems worldwide.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Andrea B on April 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was an engaging and compelling book. Dr. Barnoski describes the impacts that global warming are having on plants and animals around us and in places far from human activity. I never realized that the human-accelerated warming is too fast for nature to adjust and that many species will be unable to cope. While other books address CO2 and global warming, this book talks about the effects on nature and the large-scale consequences we need to be prepared for.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Emma J on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book kept me engaged throughout. Gives a very thorough explanation of why the warming we are experiencing now is different from other global warming events in the past. Instead of just throwing scary statistics at you, this book does a great job of describing the painstaking processes used to come up with those statistics, without making it too complicated for someone, like me, who does not have a strong science background.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heatstroke reveals in very understandable terms the impacts of change on the natural world. It was a compelling read that was both very personal, based on Dr. Barnusky's research, and global, the author presents climate changes in the context of planet Earth. I learned a great deal and appreciated the author's science-based findings. Dr. Barnusky stays on message, and without being alarmist or speculative, he lays out the status of the world in which we find ourselves. I've ordered the book for friends and family and would urge those who are interested in the evolution of the planet and climate change through the ages to read this book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jason Leppig on June 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Of course all of the 1-star reviews would come from climate change deniers. If you don't believe in climate change, this book might not change your mind, but it may challenge your thinking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Loves Variety on July 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
extremely detailed discussion about how the loss of individual species happens and then widens the focus to explain how that takes out entire ecosystems. very depressing, frankly.

I can't give it 5 stars because the "what we can do" section is a white-wash. like changing our light bulbs are going to fix everything!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even though it was difficult to follow all the details (some of which seemed redundant), this was an interesting read. We can see today that an increasing number of species have been forced into extinction, but I honestly don't think the author gave as much emphasis to the lack of territory as he did to the global warming problem. Yes, we have polluted ourselves into a corner and fouled the air with all kinds of fumes and excess heat, but eventually it will be man that is extinct rather than the animals if we continue to allow the current spread of disease through insects and other vehicles (air transport being primarily to blame for the spread of some diseases). Global warming is a symptom as much as a cause of the changes in ecological systems. Most healthy species can adapt to just about anything, but man steps up his use of living space incrementally as those species are adjusting. Eventually, we will have to come up with a plan to prevent the outspread of man's habitations. It will be about the only way to avoid killing fragile ecological systems.
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